City Builds on Road to Reform, Immediately Implements Nearly a Third of the Police Accountability Task Force Recommendations
New Reforms a “Down Payment” on Recommendations, Opportunity for Reform will Continue
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent Eddie Johnson are announcing today that the Chicago Police Department is taking the next steps on its road to reform by immediately implementing nearly a third of the recommendations from the Police Accountability Task Force. The city is further reviewing and developing an action plan around the remaining recommendations.
The actions center on three core goals that have been the focus of the city’s ongoing reform efforts: strengthening police accountability and oversight, restoring trust between police officers and residents of Chicago, and increasing transparency. The actions range from strengthening CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs so it can better hold officers accountable for wrongdoing, to improving CPD training programs so they help officers better understand cultural differences. The reforms go beyond the police department. All the city’s 911 call takers and dispatchers at OEMC will undergo new training to improve their interactions and deliver the best service possible to the public.
“As a city, we cannot rest until we fully address the systemic issues facing the Chicago Police Department, and the steps announced today build on our road to reform,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Under the leadership of Superintendent Eddie Johnson, the police department will implement these reforms immediately while we continue to work together to find additional ways to restore the fabric of trust in communities across Chicago. As we look toward the future, our city will be better off because we faced up to these challenges and confronted them head on.”
“Trust is at the heart of good policing, safe communities and is the central challenge facing Chicago today,” said Superintendent Johnson. “These reforms are a down payment on restoring that trust, and build on the important progress we’ve made in recent months. Working together with community leaders, parents, ministers, youth, and others, we will continue to build on this progress in the months and years ahead.”
In addition to the reforms being immediately implemented, the city is committing to the police oversight concepts recommended by the Task Force, including independent investigations of serious police misconduct, a new Public Safety Auditor, a role for citizen oversight, and increased transparency and independence for the entire system. The City has begun discussions with the United State Department of Justice (DOJ) on the Task Force’s recommendations in this area and will continue to consult with DOJ as we develop a strategic plan to accomplish these goals and create a robust, effective police discipline system. In the meantime, IPRA is committed to implementing the Task Force recommendations for how it should conduct business in this interim period.
“We are at a historic moment for reform in Chicago’s history, and under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent Johnson, we are taking steps in the right direction to address the issues facing the Chicago Police Department,” said Chairman of the Public Safety Committee Ariel Reboyras. “We have more work to do in order to rebuild public trust and restore accountability in the police department. In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll be working with leaders across the city and the City Council to continue to address these important issues.”
The Task Force report made at least 76 specific recommendations, and more than 30 percent of them are now being implemented. Those items are listed below. To ensure successful implementation of the reforms and to provide transparency, the city will issue quarterly, written progress updates and make them public.
Rebuilding Trust Between CPD and the Residents of Chicago:
Community Bridge Meetings (PATF p. 41): As part of the Police Department’s efforts to rebuild public trust and heal the rift between the Department and minority communities, Superintendent Johnson has lead community bridge meetings over the past few weeks to discuss community-police relations and ways to overcome long-standing cultural differences. Moving forward, Superintendent Johnson will continue to facilitate community bridge meetings across the city in the beginning of May.
Addressing Bias and Cultural Differences Through Training (PATF pp. 55-56): On his first day in office, Superintendent Johnson committed to connecting all new recruits to Chicago youth of different cultures and races through restorative justice methods. Building off a successful partnership with the YMCA called Bridging the Divide, CPD officers are being trained in restorative justice methods to discuss race, bias, perception and cultural difference in a safe environment. The first police officers participated in this expanded training at Marshall High School on April 15th; additional trainings will be scheduled in the coming weeks.
Investing in 911 Call Taker training (PATF pp 118-119): In response to recent incidents, OEMC is implementing new training for all 911 call takers and dispatchers to improve their interactions and deliver the best service possible to the public. Once training is completed, employees will be subject to progressive discipline for rude or unprofessional behavior. OEMC will also train for all 911 dispatchers on properly responding to and dispatching CIT-certified officers to scenes involving a mental health crisis..
Continuing to Invest in CIT Training (PATF pp. 120-122, 138): CPD’s Crisis Intervention Training is a 40-hour certification on techniques to de-escalate confrontations with individuals in crisis, particularly people with mental illnesses. CPD will increase the number of officers fully certified in CIT by 50 percent by the end of 2016, and more than 30 percent of the department will be certified by the end of 2017. Going forward, all districts, on every watch, will be staffed by at least one CIT officer, and 911 dispatchers will have a current and updated roster of all CIT-certified officers on duty on a given watch. In addition, going forward, all field training officers and supervisory classes will be fully certified in CIT. Finally, CPD is developing a 2-day, scenario-based training for all officers in de-escalation techniques and recognizing and responding to mental health crises; all officers will receive that training by the end of the year.
Expanding Homicide Crisis Response and Recovery Model (PATF p. 128): The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and CPD have partnered with Chicago Survivors to dispatch trained civilian responders to provide immediate response and support to family members of homicide victims, with ongoing services for up to six months. The City has expanded that pilot city wide for every homicide.
Expanding the Use of Tasers (PATF p. 127): Since the start of the year, the number of Chicago Police officers who have been certified to use a Taser has quadrupled. More than 8,000 CPD officers have now been certified, and the Department is on track to have all officers responding to calls for service trained by June 1.
Community Education Campaign (PATF pp. 119-120): As part of the new Steering Committee to address law enforcement crisis response, the Chicago Department of Public Health is partnering with mental health practitioners to design a community education campaign to help residents recognize the symptoms of mental illness and inform them how best to respond to mental health crisis, including seeking help or emergency assistance from the City.
Restoring Accountability in the Chicago Police Department:
Expanding Use of Body Cameras (PATF p. 141-142): This year CPD will expand its body-worn camera pilot to 7 police districts, covering more than a third of the City. Officers in those districts will be fully trained and using the cameras on a rolling basis between June 1st and August 1st. Last week the Superintendent, First Deputy Superintendent, Chief of Patrol, all Deputy Chief of Patrol, the Deputy Chief of CAPS and the Deputy Chief of the Training Academy were trained and given cameras, which they are now using.
Early Intervention System (PATF pp. 109-111): CPD is in the process of designing and developing an in-house, non-disciplinary early intervention system to provide additional training and supports for officers as needed.
Collaboration to Improve and Enhance Misconduct Investigation (PATF p. 82): The Chicago Police Department, Independent Police Review Authority, and the Law Department have initiated a collaborative program to review officer discipline histories, patterns of alleged misconduct, civil settlements and judgments, citizen complaints and other data to focus resources, prioritize and open new misconduct investigations, and take disciplinary action against officers with histories of excessive force, where warranted.
Expediting internal investigations (PATF pp. 84-85): Going forward, the Department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs (BIA) will expedite the process in which supervisors review disciplinary recommendations to make sure discipline is swift and certain. In the past, this review process could take months. Going forward, in severe cases, the review will be completed in 45 days, and review of less severe cases will be completed in 30 days.
Improving the quality of supervisory investigations (PATF p 84-85): BIA will now train designated sergeants by district and unit to conduct internal investigations in order to make them more efficient, fair and consistent.
BIA mediation standards (PATF p. 83): CPD is developing a set of guidelines to structure and clarify the eligibility and process for mediation of disciplinary actions.
Misconduct Hotline (PATF p. 77): BIA will create a third-party hotline for members of the Chicago Police Department to report misconduct.
Better training for investigators: BIA will require all of its investigators to complete the same training as detectives.
Recording all interviews: Going forward, BIA will video record all of its investigatory interviews, consistent with CPD’s current electronic recording policies for interviews in major felony cases.
Discipline Guidelines (PATF p. 87): CPD is in the process of finalizing a discipline matrix that will bring a clear and fixed set of penalties for misconduct, taking into consideration mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
Concurrent Investigations (PATF p. 85): BIA and IPRA administrative investigations will now proceed concurrently with any state or federal criminal investigation absent an express and compelling request from a prosecuting authority.
Implementing Chicago’s Policy for Evidence Release in Police Involved Shootings (PATF pp. 133-136): In February, the Task Force on Police Accountability recommended a new City policy on the release of evidence, including videos, in police-involved shootings and other serious incidents. The Mayor embraced their recommendations, and six city departments have been working to collect relevant evidence and prepare for its release in the coming weeks.
City to Issue Quarterly Progress Reports (PATF p. 45, 53): As part of the city’s efforts to successfully implement these reforms and engage the public on this important work, officials will issue quarterly, written updates on the progress made to date.
Reforms to IPRA:
The city is committing to the police oversight concepts recommended by the Task Force, including independent investigations of serious police misconduct, a new Public Safety Auditor, a role for citizen oversight, and increased transparency and independence for the entire system.
While the City considers options for structural reform for police accountability, the Task Force also made several recommendations for IPRA during this transition period. Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley has embraced these recommendations:
Independent Auditing of IPRA’s investigations (PATF p. 164): Fairley has secured an independent audit of a statistical sample of past investigations and is seeking authority to audit its work going forward.
Community Outreach (PATF p. 164): Fairley and her staff have attended numerous community meetings are committed to forming a Community Board with broad representation.
Clarify criteria for affidavit override (PATF p. 164): State law and the collective bargaining agreement require complainants of police misconduct to sign sworn affidavits before IPRA or CPD can finish their investigations, though there are circumstances when the City can and should proceed with a disciplinary investigation even without an affidavit. IPRA posted draft rules on Friday, April 15 to clarify when the Chief Administrator will override the affidavit requirement. Criteria for override include the seriousness of the offense, the credibility of the complaint, and whether the alleged misconduct concerns the integrity of the officers involved.
Discipline Guidelines (PATF pp. 87, 164): IPRA, like CPD, is in the process of finalizing a discipline matrix that will bring a clear and fixed set of penalties for misconduct, taking into consideration mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
Implement the Transparency Policy (PATF p. 164): IPRA has committed to implementing the new City policy on the release of evidence, including videos, in police-involved shootings and other serious incidents and has been working with other city agencies to prepare for its release in the coming weeks.